Do you know what a Kinetoscope is?

The kinetoscope, also called a kinetoscope, was a device designed with rotating cylinders that allowed very short animations to be projected due to the narrow dimensions of the cylinder. The name was the result of combining the Greek words “kineto” (movement) and “scopos” (“see”).

This curious invention was authored by Thomas Alva Edison and William Dickson, in the late 1880s, based on Eadweard Muybridge’s version of the zoopraxiscope. Edison described it as the “machine that could do to the eyes what the phonograph does to the ears.”

Although it was not a novel idea, since previously many inventors had tried to present photographs with movement, to create animated videos based on projecting photographs at high speed; What made it remarkable in film history was the advanced rotary system. It had the peculiarity of transforming a wall in the window into reality in motion.
Despite the greatness of this device and how popular it became in its time, it was not fully accepted by the public and succumbed in front of the cinematographer, which was presented by the Lumiere brothers. Consequently, it did not become widespread and fell into oblivion. However, the Kinetoscope came to be recognized as the forerunner of today’s movie projector.

How did a kinetoscope work?

It was made up of a vertical wooden box that in turn contained a series of reels on which only 14 meters of film ran, in a continuous loop. It consisted of the individual vision of image bands.
The film was kept in continuous rotary motion and passed before an electric lamp and under an amplifying glass placed on top of the box. Between this lamp and the film was a rotating disc shutter, which was perforated with a very precise aperture, which illuminated each frame so briefly that it frozen the motion of the film, generating about 40 images per second.


The kinetoscope was a device that was created prior to the cinematographic projector . This projector was invented by Thomas Alva Edison and by William Dickson in the late 1880s, based on Edward Muybridge’s version of the zoopraxiscope . This device was intended to give an individual view of continuous image bands, but without the possibility of projecting onto a screen. Film that had motion permanently had to go through an electric lamp and also underneath a rotating disc which, in turn, was perforated and briefly illuminated each frame that passed freezing the motion of the film at the same time, thus providing around 40 images per second.

What is the kinetoscope for?

The kinetoscope was very popular in its time and was a device that was created with the aim of providing an individual view of endless bands of images , although not despite this, it did not allow its projection on a screen. It consisted of a vertical wooden box with a series of reels on which 14 m of film ran in a continuous loop. This film was in a constant rotating movement all the time, the images it generated passed before an electric lamp and under an enlarging glass that was placed on top of the box. Between the lamp and the film was also a rotating disc shutter, which was perforated with a narrow slot, which illuminated each frame so briefly that it frozen the motion of the film, and thus managed to provide about 40 images per second. The films used at that time were ¾ inch, approximately 19 mm, and were mobilized by means of an interesting horizontal feeding mechanism. The images they generated were circular and the viewfinder began to work when a modera was introduced that was in charge of activating the electric motor and gave a display of about 20 seconds.

Kinetoscope history

In the month of February, 1888, Muybridge was in charge of giving a lecture through which he made the introduction of a device called a zoopraxiscope , which was an original version of the first device to reproduce images in continuous movement. The kinetoscope was invented by Thomas Edison and William KL Dickson. The purpose of this invention created by Edison was to create an audiovisual systemAbsolute with which you could see and hear a work as if we were in the place. This interesting machine has been considered as the first cinema projecting machine. In the early 1890s, it began to be used in cinema and quickly became popular at carnival parties and at attractions. The Kinetoscope was a device intended for the individual vision of endless bands of images, but which did not allow its projection on a screen. It was a vertical wooden box with a series of coils on which 14m ran. of film in a continuous loop.

Inventor of the kinetoscope

The inventor Thomas Edison , was the owner and lord of a patent, which belonged precisely to a filming apparatus he called a kinetoscope . Edison built it in 1891, fueled by his interest in moving images after meeting photography pioneer Eadweard Muybridge and his work. Later, in France , it is believed that Edison’s meeting with the physiologist Etienne-Jules Marey helped to direct the work in the right direction. Marey was able to produce a sequential series of still images using continuous film reels, calling this chronophoto technique . And this is how the kinetoscope originated. The prototype was presented on May 20, 1891. 18 mm wide films were used, which according to author David Robinson, “slipped horizontally between two coils, at a constant speed.”



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